When you are looking at where to stay in the Magdalen Islands, there’s one hotel property that you should check out. In this Château Madelinot review, you’ll learn what makes this seaside property special, why it should be on your list of places to stay, and we’ll give you an in-depth look as a guest that you won’t find anywhere else.
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Table of Contents
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Here's what we're covering:
- Château Madelinot Review
- Closing Thoughts About Château Madelinot
- Frequently Asked Questions
Château Madelinot Review
This Château Madelinot hotel review is meant to answer your questions and set expectations for your stay in the Magdalen Islands (Îles de la Madeleine) whether you’re staying here for the Baby Harp Seal Observation, exploring the winter, or here for your summer vacation.
That said, we stayed here in the winter so this review will be focused more on cold-weather stays.
What you’ll see is recent as of the latest round of renovations so it will be much more up-to-date than what you might find on other review sites.
Where is Château Madelinot
Let’s start off with the basics. If you’re stay at Château Madelinot, then you obviously know where the Magdalen Islands are.
The hotel itself is on the most developed island of Cap-aux-Meules. Being located on this island has its advantages because you’re only 3 minutes or less by car to the “downtown”.
Château Madelinot is on the north east part of the island is also conveniently located right before the bridge over to Havre-aux-Maisons and the Pointe-Basse area which is where the Cap Alright Lighthouse is located.
Lastly, this hotel faces east, has view of Île d’Entrée in the distance and has a sunset that’s recommended in the best photography locations in the Magdalen Islands.
Why stay at Chateau Madelinot
Before you continue, our article on the top things to do in the Magdalen Islands in the winter gives a really good overview of why you should go in the off-season.
While we should be clear that the hotel isn’t a real château, which most would associate to a castle/manor/palace, but as a seaside hotel, there are a lot of compelling reasons when looking for where to stay in the Magdalen Islands.
- The largest property on the islands – Chateau Madelinot is the largest hotel in the Magdalen Islands and you could say is the only full-sized hotel on the islands that isn’t a B&B, boutique property, or chalet.
- Operates the Harp Seal Observation – The hotel is the only property you can stay at if you want to see the baby seals.
- All meals available at the hotel – Thanks to Resto Bistro Accents, which is connected to the hotel, you can have any meal at the property. This is a bit more limited in the winter. While a tad expensive,
- Hotel amenities – As most properties are B&Bs or rentals on the island, you won’t have the full range of amenities that a hotel like Château Madelinot can offer such as housekeeping, front desk services, gift shop, meeting rooms, dry cleaning, and other facilities.
- Gym, pool, hot tub, and sauna – This can be a huge benefit if you have plans to use any of these facilities since you won’t find them in most B&B and rentals.
- Convenient location – This honestly can’t be beat being right off Highway 199, close to the downtown which means you’re close to restaurants, services, gas stations, and grocery stores. The airport is only 8 minutes as well.
- Reliable and no surprises – There’s something to be said for knowing what you’re going to get and a consistent level of quality, service, and overall stay.
- Newly renovated – They’ve poured a huge investment in overhauling the rooms and several areas of the hotel interior.
There are a variety of ways that you can book your stay with Chateau Madelinot. In all scenarios, the rates are the same down to the taxes.
Where you may want to go with one platform over the other is payment method. For instance, Booking allows you to pay through Paypal.
Alternatively, Booking.com allows you to build up loyalty through their Genius loyalty program. While Château Madelinot doesn’t have any Genius tier discounts but you might be building towards a higher tier.
TripAdvisor is included here because some prefer to book through them as they provide not only reviews but the ability to book through relevant platforms in your region.
BEFORE YOU CONTINUE
If you’re thinking about going to Iles de la Madeleine in the winter, make sure you don’t go unprepared. In our definitive guide, find out all of the clothing and equipment you need to have in your suitcase.
Arrival in the Magdalen Islands
Getting to the Magdalen Islands can get a little complicated. We go into full detail how you can get Îles de la Madeleine in our main guide but here’s a quick primer.
Getting to the Magdalen Islands
There are two primary ways to get to the Magdalen Islands – by plane and by boat.
Flying is how we got to the islands, flying in from Montreal via PASCAN Aviation with hops in Quebec City, Bonaventure, and Gaspé. Other airlines that fly to Îles de la Madeleine are Air Canada and PAL Airlines.
Schedules will vary quite a bit between high season (summer) and low season (winter) with Air Canada currently not servicing the islands at all in the winter.
For those that prefer to take a ferry, CTMA is a ferry that runs between Souris in Prince Edward Island and Cap-aux-Meules. They run all-year-round. There is also a cruise experience from Montreal to Îles de la Madeleine in the summer.
Upon landing at the Îles de la Madeleine airport, you’ll walk off the plane and into the small all-in-one terminal which has the single luggage belt, waiting area, check-in counters, and car rental booths.
Since Chateau Madelinot doesn’t offer shuttle service for guests unless it’s part of the Harp Seal Observation package, your best bet is to rent a car.
You won’t find any of the large car rental companies here. The two available are Agence de Location des Îles and Leblanc Location d’Autos. The one we rented from was Agence de Location des Îles which seems to be the larger of the two.
We highly recommend that you add on car insurance to your booking as well.
Lastly, make sure to get an SUV if there’s one available. It’s not to say you won’t be able to get around with a minivan which is what we ended up with but something with good traction is helpful for deeper snow and icy inclines.
For full driving tips, we meticulously detail what it’s like to drive in islands including winter tips in our Magdalen Islands guide.
This is a no-nonsense process as you’d expect from a hotel. There’s a receptionist at the desk 24/7 so even if you are delayed because of a flight issue, you’ll be taken care of.
We found the staff to be incredibly friendly and answered all the questions we had.
Feel free to ask for a guide book or map and any questions you might have about where to eat, where to get supplies, and anything else.
Chateau Madelinot Queen Room
We stayed in the Queen, Ocean View – Double room. This is under their Signature Room class and is the majority of rooms at Château Madelinot.
As one of the renovated room, there’s a significant improvement over the original rooms. This is why, when you read the TripAdvisor reviews, you’ll find that most of them are irrelevant now because they’ve been completely overhauled.
The new-look rooms are modern and clean. In a lot of ways, it’s the decor you expect from hotels such as the Hilton Garden Inn, or Courtyard Inn. It isn’t flashy but the overall feeling is that it’s simple and comfy.
To enter the room, you are issued two tap (RFID) cards.
The white walls are balanced by cohesive charcoal grey accents such as the new carpet, headboard, side tables, clothes hanger, table, chairs, TV wall unit/dresser, black-out curtains, and vanity. This is a two-tone design.
In the room, you’ll also find a print on canvas featuring the islands.
While these aren’t huge rooms by any stretch of the imagination, the Queen, Ocean View room has just enough space to set up comfortably.
For context, we didn’t really plan on spending much time in our room so we’re pretty no frills when it comes to needing room size. We also like to keep all of our clothes in our suitcase except for what goes on the hangers so we simply laid out our bags on the floor.
Next to the closet unit is a mini-refrigerator (photo further down). This is free for you to use and there isn’t anything inside.
Below the mounted LED TV is a drawer system and on the surface is an ice bucket, two glasses, plastic cups, and traditional filter coffee maker set up.
Since the building isn’t central-air, there’s a wall-unit for heating and cooling. This is certainly one of the weak features of the room as this unit can be quite loud. We also experienced a thermostat on the heater to be a bit wonky so it would turn on and off to maintain a temperature. Eventually, we had to turn it off at night because it was so disruptive.
In the living space, there’s a single leather couch and two chairs that go along with the square table.
TIP: Looking for a hot water kettle? They don’t come with the room but they are available upon request.
The bathroom has also been completely re-done and as a result, it feels fresh and doesn’t leave you feeling icky.
The full-width vanity comes with a new stone counter, faucet, and sink. It is however, quite spartan on the amenities front with a box of tissue paper, plastic cups, soap bar, shower cap and shampoo/conditioner.
Below the vanity are cubbies for the towels, rubber bath tub mat, extra toilet paper, and the toilet paper holder.
On the bath tub side, it’s one of those plastic walls that cover the entire space with a built-in handle and plenty of ledges.
While the temperature control was good, the one big letdown was the shower head which may have been faulty but did spray a little all over.
Lastly, the back of the door has a single hook and towel bar.
The bed is of high quality and the queen size mattress is just the right firmness and extremely comfortable. In addition, the bed comes with a hypoallergenic comforter and two pillows per person.
What I like about the bed design is that the headboard seamlessly connects with the floating bedside tables on each end.
On the bedside table, you’ll find a telephone and traditional alarm clock. What you’ll have though is that each side has a charging block built in that comes with your traditional and USB outlets.
Above the bedside table is a flexible arm LED light and lamp above.
The desk is admittedly not a great work space because it’s not a proper desk. You could say that it’s more of a dining table for two.
You can certainly work from this table but depending on your room layout, you’ll be hunting for the closest electrical outlet. In our room, we had to drag it quite a distance to get it to work and could only sit on one end of the table.
It’s work-able as a desk but definitely not ideal.
TIP: Make sure you have a long power cable for your laptop.
Instead of a traditional closet, there’s a unit in the room that has a slim locker-style door that houses an iron, ironing board, hangers, and extra bedding.
As part of the unit, there’s also an additional hanger area with shelf above.
What’s missing in the room though is the luggage rack which you won’t find in the closet.
Depending on where your room is located, you may have a balcony.
For those that get one, there’s a sliding door from your room that’ll take you out. The catch is that not all the balconies are private. Some are connected with a row of other units while some are individual balconies.
The photo above illustrates some of the differences so if you’re adamant about a private balcony, make sure to request it.
In the winter, the balcony furniture is taken away but should be there in the summer.
Our trip to the Magdalen Islands was during the pandemic and so as you can imagine, the housekeeping expectations were different than “normal times”.
In fact, we didn’t really want housekeeping to come into our room but that prompted the staff to ask us on a number of occasions if we wanted our room serviced.
Currently, housekeeping staff are back to cleaning rooms daily.
Alternative Room Types
Besides the “Signature Room” that we stayed in, there are many other Château Madelinot room types depending on your travel needs and group size.
Since the older “classic” rooms will be phased out, we won’t be including them here.
- Comfort Room – This room can accommodate 4 people with two queen beds.
- Mini-Kitchen Room – If you’re looking at longer stays where you’d like to have access to a kitchenette with kitchen sink, microwave, toaster oven, fridge, utensils, and dishes. This will allow you to cook simple meals. The room has a single queen bed so will accomodate 2 people.
- Suites – If you have a larger group, a suite might be what you’re looking for with 1 king bed, small living room, double sofa bed and a mini-kitchen. This room can accommodate 4 people.
Château Madelinot has a one of the best restaurants on the islands connected to the property which gives the property a huge advantage.
Resto Bistro Accents is headed by executive chef, Hugo Lefrançois where he combines fresh local ingredients with a combination of Canadian and international cuisines together. On the menu, you’ll find seafood, fish, wild meats, beef, and lots of local produce.
As part of the recent renovation, a separate door was built at the front entrance of the hotel in addition to elevator access from within the building. This means that non-guests can enter the restaurant directly from the outside. If you’re a guest, you can walk from your room to the restaurant without having to go outside.
At first, this seems like a bit of a strange design decision but it’s actually an indication of how successful they’ve become. The restaurant has seen a meteoric rise within the community to now being one of the premiere higher class restaurants you can eat at in the Magdalen Islands.
This speaks volumes about the quality of the food, drinks, and service.
From a cost perspective, the restaurant at the hotel is a tad more expensive than some of the others on the islands so keep that in mind as you budget your trip.
Lastly, they should have English menus so make sure to ask.
Every single item on the breakfast menu is amazing and will be one of the highlights of your stay.
The a-la-carte menu features many classics and also local dishes as well. Ones you definitely need to try are:
- Smoothie of the day
- Eggs Benedict
- Smoked salmon bagel
- Beignets (with caramel sauce)
The filtered coffee comes with unlimited refills and you’ll love watching the sunrise from the top floor of the hotel.
It’s also worth noting that the restaurant opens as early as 6AM in the morning on weekdays which is great for anyone that wants an early start to the day.
I’ll be honest, we didn’t have lunch at the restaurant because they weren’t open in the winter time.
That said, if breakfast and dinner are any indication, the lunch will be superb.
There’s a reason why Resto Bistro Accents has become such a popular restaurants. The spacious dining room with its locally produced art and large windows that allow you to look out into the gulf is the setting for dishes that will be a feast for your eyes, satisfying cravings of all taste buds.
Their starters provide a variety of choices that range from the standard salad, bruschetta, and calamari to the other end of the spectrum with escargot, salmon tartare, and seal meat for those that want to try it.
Mains include the crowd pleasers such as poutine, burgers, linguine, and fish & chips while also bringing in braised short ribs, bison flank steak, and juicy baby back ribs.
For dessert, they have a handmade selection of cakes, tarts, and creme brûlée.
Keep in mind that Chef Lefrançois is constantly tweaking the menu season to season so expect to find the use of fresh ingredients while also mixing in cuisine from all over the world.
TIP: During the week, you can get away with no reservations but Friday to Saturday, the locals pack the restaurant so make sure to book a spot. They try to keep tables open for hotel guests but it’s still not a guarantee. Lastly, remember that the restaurant is closed on Sundays.
TIP #2: Beyond the menu, they will sometimes have specials on the chalkboard behind the bar. These are usually a pretty good deal, including a starter, main, coffee, and dessert.
There are no room service option sat Château Madelinot.
Château Madelinot Facilities
As part of the Chateau Madelinot review, we’d be remiss to cover the other parts of the hotel.
Layout of the building
To start, let’s look at the layout of the hotel. As you can see, the front entrance is faces the road and the large parking lot.
As we mentioned earlier, the front entrance has a door to the restaurant with stairs that go up to the top floor (4th floor). To the right is the door to the reception. This is in fact the third floor of the hotel.
From the reception and lobby, it splits out like a fork or U-shape towards the beach.
Where it gets complicated is that because of the declining grade of the ground, you have one wing that has 3 levels and the other that effectively only has 2.
TIP: If you’re staying on the southern wing (left in the photo), it will become quite tedious to walk the wing and then up the stairs or elevator to get to the main floor lobby. Instead, there’s a parking lot on that side that is level with the second floor. Park here so you can walk right into your wing.
Reception and lobby
The entrance lobby has a few couches for lounging and two receptionist desks. The set up is quite simple and to the point.
Design-wise, you’ll see that many of the elements that you see in the renovated rooms draw upon the same designs that you see here.
With how it’s laid out, the lobby isn’t really meant to be more than a waiting area.
Around the lobby space and towards the elevator and stairs, you’ll find a map of Îles de la Madeleine, tourism pamphlets, visitor guides, photography, and also more information about the Harp Seal Observation.
Adjacent to reception is a open gift shop where they carry an assortment of souvenirs from the Magdalen Islands including jewelry, stuffed toys, books, postcards, pins, magnets, clothes and more.
For kids, they also sell board games, markers, puzzles, and other toys if you need more entertainment.
TIP: If you buy a postcard but don’t have time to go to the post office, you can ask the receptionist to include postage to the bill and they’ll mail it out for you.
The gym is a brand newly refurbished part of the hotel, next to the pool area.
You’ll find that the gym has a a comprehensive collection of the standard workout equipment including treadmills, elliptical, bike, free weights, a bench, and full multi jungle station kit.
Near the entrance, there’s a table for towels and disinfectant cleaning spray.
There is no water dispenser so make sure you bring your own water bottle.
The gym also has a brand new men’s and women’s changing room which will also be useful for those using the adjacent facilities.
Keycard is required for access. Hours of operation are 9AM to 10PM.
Pool, Hot Tubs, and Sauna
Next to the gym is the pool, sauna and twin hot tubs, a feature you pretty much won’t find anywhere else onin the Magdalen Islands.
This solarium-style room brings in a ton of light and is a great for families of those that want a little relaxation.
The pool has shallow (0.5 metres) and deep ends (1.6 metres), allowing all ages to enjoy their time there. There are no lifeguards there so make sure to follow the pool rules.
Behind the pool are two outdoor-style and above-ground hot tubs. The covers are normally on if they’re not in use but anyone can use them.
Lastly, there’s an electric sauna.
Keycard is required for access.
On the second floor are a cluster of amenities that we’ll cluster together.
- Pop/soda vending machine
- Snack vending machine
- Ice maker
- Coin operated laundry machines ($2 for washer and $2 for the dryer)
Accessible from the reception level is access to an auditorium downstairs which is used in the summer for cultural and artistic performances, featuring local artists from the islands.
Shows are shared on the auditorium page.
This part won’t be relevant for most readers of this Château Madelinot review but the property also has several meeting rooms that can be booked for corporate meetings and special groups.
Being able to charge your devices and also connect to the internet is important for every accommodation.
There are certainly enough outlets to keep you powered for whatever devices that you have but if you’re someone like me that’s charging a dozen things all the time, you might be left wishing there were more.
Every room might be slightly different but besides the outlets built into the beside tables, there’s only one more outlet for the mini-fridge. There’s also an outlet in the bathroom.
The wifi speeds are quite impressive especially after reading all of the negative reviews about it.
The network itself isn’t behind a password or log in portal so you can connect quickly. It’s simply “Chateau Madelinot”.
Speed-wise, here is what we measured:
For an in-depth guide on flying drones in the islands, head over to the best photography locations in the Magdalen Islands guide.
When it comes to Château Madelinot specifically, it is located in Class B controlled airspace which means that to be legally allowed to fly, you’ll need an Advanced pilot certificate and have your flight plan submitted and approved by NAV Canada.
The good news is that if you jump through all of those hoops, the flight plans in Class B space (the outer circle and not the closer circle to the airport) is automatically approved by the system.
Ready to book?
If you’re convinced, make sure to book your stay Château Madelinot today!
Closing Thoughts About Château Madelinot
From a winter perspective, I don’t think you should stay anywhere else to be honest. With fewer places open in the cold months, you’ll want somewhere to stay that will be reliably open and provide almost everything you need. The 24 hour staff, in-house restaurant (a superb one at that), housekeeping if you need it, proximity to the village of Cap-aux-Meules, airport, and CTMA ferry, and facilities make it a care-free stay.
In the summer, there are a lot more options and it’ll depend on your length of stay and travel preferences but I will say that the days of Château Madelinot being a 3-star property are long gone. The new renovations have elevated the hotel significantly.
Definitely consider this hotel as you plan your Magdalen Islands itinerary.
Frequently Asked Questions
Rates vary year to year and between seasons but as of 2022, nightly rates in the winter start at $137 CAD and summer can be up to $174 CAD but on average is $152 CAD.
In addition to the base rate, a lodging tax (3.5%), GST (5%) and QST (9.975%) are added.
You can cancel 48 hours before arrival without penalty. Otherwise, they will charge you one night plus taxes.
VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and JCB are accepted.
During low season, you do not need to make too far in advance. The exception is during the Harp Seal Observation where you should make a booking once it’s available. During high season, July and August get booked very quickly so its advisable to book as early as the beginning of the year.
No but during the Harp Seal Observation, there are special packages available that include meals (full-board and lunch-only).
No, there is no shuttle service so you will need to take a taxi or have your own rental car.
The hotel does have a number of luggage carts that are the same style as those you’d find at the airport. They don’t have the large hotel-style flatbed t
The front desk reception can certainly double as a concierge to help you if you need anything.
No, there isn’t a bellhop available but there are luggage carts available (similar to the airport) to help you with your bags.
So that rounds out everything that I wanted to share with you in this Château Madelinot review. If you have specific questions, don’t hesitate to ask by dropping a comment below.
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